Sports and American History
Join celebrated UNC history professor Matthew Andrews to discover how sports have reflected various facets of American identity—both laudatory and troubling—throughout our nation’s history. Whether you love sports or find the American sports obsession confounding, this course will help you answer the fascinating question of why sports have mattered so much to this country. Although today’s sporting events bear little resemblance to the bloodsports of the early colonies, the passion with which Americans play and watch sports remains alive and well. Delve into the history of American sports to better understand the larger themes and controversies in this nation’s past in these 30 captivating lectures. As you explore stories of races won, touchdowns scored, and players rounding the bases, you’ll also learn about sports’ class and ethnic origins; racial prejudice, exclusion, and integration in sport and society; athleticism and the evolving ideas about masculinity and womanhood; the role of sport in the promotion of a vigorous national identity; and the use of sporting arenas as spaces to both legitimize and protest the political order. By the end of the course, you will know more about the role of sports in American history, have a keen grasp on the general narrative and major figures in US sport history, and view contemporary sports in a new way. As you will see, sports are not mere games—they are significant cultural events in which Americans express and contest ideas about race, class, gender, and other important markers of identity.This course is part of the Learn25 collection.